All in all, this collaboration between the Chichester Festival Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh is a splendidly handsome revival of a much-loved classic story, offering a fresh look at one of the greatest British musical scores ever written, and incorporating a lot of fine new writing by some of the most experienced creatives in the industry. It’s a delight.
There are many extraordinary moments from Keenan. Highlights include his improvisation of horse-racing victories; the powerful sequence which opens the second Act when Edward is openly defying his captors and refusing to eat; the absurd, but incredibly touching, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” scene, where he and David Haig’s Michael pretend they are flying over Europe, heading home; the silent, aching horror when he dresses to leave. All of these moments are superbly judged by Keenan, incisive and absorbing. The haunted look his eyes develop over the course of the play is quite remarkable, and will linger with you afterwards.